What is the perception of women toward men and marriage in the stories Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" and Susan Glaspell's "A Jury of her Peers"?

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writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both stories show women being oppressed and overlooked by men. Both stories show the man as dominant in the marriage, and the woman as somewhat subservient to the man. However, the authors use extremely different approaches in demonstrating these ideas.

In "A Jury of Her Peers," we see the action from the point of view of the wives. The women piece together why Minnie attacked her husband, and they are able to conclude that she was being oppressed and even abused by her husband. They recognize the importance of the dead bird and the haphazard stitching, while the men simply comment on how poor of a housekeeper Minnie was. Glaspell shows the men as judging and criticizing towards Minnie, while the women sympathize with her.

Chopin uses a different approach in "A Story of an Hour." The narrator in this work is outside the story, and is able to reveal to the audience the thoughts of our main character, Mrs. Mallard. Through Mrs. Mallard's thoughts in response to her husband's death, we see the author's take on marriage and men. There is nothing abusive or unloving about Brentley, but he makes Mrs. Mallard's decisions for her and apparently treats her like a child. She feels enslaved to his decisions, and the news of his death brings her feelings of freedom. 

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The Story of an Hour

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